Talent Development

Recruiting 101: Nailing the Phone Interview

November 10, 2016
Careers Team
Talent Development
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You’ve fixed up your CV, sent in your application, and are finally moved to the next step: the phone interview.  The phone interview is an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about the company and role for which you have applied, as well as add a voice to your application. Here, we discuss common pitfalls and how to make your personality shine over the phone.      


Why do you do phone screens and what do you want to get out of it?

We do phone screens to find out more information about a candidate’s motivation for working at GetYourGuide as well as motivation for applying for the specific position. We go over basic job requirements and information about the role and also take this opportunity to learn what a candidate expects from a position. Additionally, we screen for basic technical skills and go over certain highlights in a candidate’s CV.  At the end of the phone call, we cover next steps for the recruiting process so that candidates know what to expect from us.

We want to gain a fuller picture of a candidate during the phone screen. It is a good opportunity to get a feel for whether or not the candidate is a good match for GetYourGuide and if we’re a good match for them.

What do you like about conducting phone interviews?

I like conducting phone interviews because it is the first opportunity to get to know a candidate beyond just what they’ve written about themselves and their experience on paper.  Hearing their voice and getting a taste for their personality helps me picture them at GetYourGuide.  I also like phone interviews, and interviews in general, because they give me the opportunity to talk about GetYourGuide and oftentimes to share why I like working here.  

How can a candidate share their personality over the phone?

Candidates convey their personality best when they are comfortable during the interview.  This comfort comes from being properly prepared.  I also think personality is often expressed in the questions a candidate asks at the end of the interview.  The questions give insight into what the candidate values, so I always like when a candidate has a question for me at the end of the interview.  

Candidates convey their personality best when they are comfortable during the interview.

What environment do you recommend for a phone screen interview?

For a phone interview, the biggest thing to consider is the noise level.  Are you in a quiet space where you will be able to hear the interviewer and stay focused when responding? Doing a phone screen somewhere relatively calm so that you don’t have any distractions during the interview is crucial.

In your opinion, what is the most important thing a candidate should convey on the phone?

Hands down, motivation.  The phone interview is the first opportunity to convince the interviewer that you know the company, the role, and that you are specifically motivated for both of them. If the motivation isn’t there, no matter how qualified a person may be, it always leaves me with a question mark.

I want to feel sure at the end of the interview that a candidate really wants to be a part of the team.

What are some common pitfalls of interviewing over the phone?

This is the stage in which you know the least about the position and the company, so I think a common pitfall is not asking questions at the end of the interview. Additionally, relying on superficial or abstract answers are common pitfalls. We might not be talking face to face, but the phone interview is still just as important, and concrete answers with real meaning go a long way.  

What should a candidate do if the phone connection is bad?

If the connection is bad and a candidate can’t hear the interviewer’s questions, or vice versa, each side should hang up and try again.  If the connection isn’t improving, then try to move it to another medium: for example, an audio Google Hangout or a Skype call.

How do phone interviews work if a candidate doesn’t have a German phone number?

We interview candidates from all over the world and know that many do not have a German number.  If a candidate doesn’t have a German number then we can set up an audio Google Hangout or Skype call.  

What are some important tools to have at your fingertips during a phone interview?

As an interviewer, I always have a glass of water, a pen, paper, and my list of notes/questions.  I like to take notes as candidates are sharing so that I have a good reference point for further questions. As a candidate, it is important to have a pen and paper during an interview so that if any impromptu questions come up, you can remember them for the end of the interview.  It’s also valuable to have a pen and paper during an interview to write down any new information given about the position during the interview.  

We often ask questions in the face-to-face interview that build on questions asked during the phone interview. Having these written notes will help you feel prepared for such questions.

Any other tips?

Well, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend dressing professionally for a phone interview, but I do think dressing in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident will help ease some of the nerves you might experience on the phone.  

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